Veganuary 2017

This month’s post is a new one for me. Rather than share a recipe with you, I wanted to review the diet I decided to take up this January and offer up a guide (for want of a better word) for any other non-vegetarians that are considering taking part in Veganuary next year – enjoy!

Back in November I made the (what seemed like) crazy decision to join 50,000 others and sign up to Veganuary 2017 and adopt a vegan diet for the first 31 days of the year. Charlie over at Eyes Bigger Than Belly had decided to do it and persuaded me to join her and it sounded easy enough at the time… Given I don’t eat dairy products anyway (because of a lactose intolerance) and try to avoid red meat, how hard could it be giving up all the other animal products that are over and above these??

Aside from the obvious upsides to the welfare of animals used in food and clothing industries that come from adopting a vegan diet, the official Veganuary website also told me that 31 days of veganism would bring with it improved sleep, an average weight loss of 6lbs and reduced cholesterol, alongside numerous other benefits to my health, nutrition and the environment – this all sounds pretty win win, so…

How Did I Find It?

I had a couple of days off (my birthday is mid-January and I love the Hummingbird Bakery and roast dinners too much to go without) but I’m pretty pleased with the 27 days that I’ve managed. Starting the new year off with a raging hangover and not being able to turn to a bacon sandwich or Dominos was pretty difficult and it took a good 4 days before my stomach stopped hating me for all the veg and pulses I’d turned too but I can’t deny that I have seen a definite benefit in my health over the last four weeks.

Discovering Win Friends With Salad and all her gorgeous recipes and secret vegan products after a week of living on lentil dahl and hummus definitely stopped me throwing the towel in. Honestly, although there’s been some shit days where all I’ve wanted was something I can’t have, once I’ve been eating a veggie Thai green curry or vegan pasta and pesto (somethings never grow old) I’ve been chuffed I didn’t quit.

I should probably add that I’m not convinced it was the vegan diet alone that brought on the weight loss (I have lost 6lbs over the month) and other benefits I’ve seen now Jan is over. I’m pretty sure I would have felt just as healthy had I just upped my fruit and veg intake and stuck with my old diet but hey, it was the kick start I needed to get my 5 a day so I’m not complaining!

Favourite Meals

I’m not sure about this one. I’ve definitely eaten more vegetable fajitas and Thai green curry than I would normally, and I have pretty much perfected a nutribullet hummus recipe – variations and all – but I can’t say that there’s been a meal I’ve discovered or loved above any other.

Highlight

Hands down discovering Oreos, Bisto gravy and Lotus Biscoff were vegan. Theres a whole lot of products listed here that were lifesavers when I felt like eating something ‘normal’ in the office when everyone else was munching on jerky and chocolate.

Biggest Learning

Preparation is key. Keeping up a vegan diet at work would have been pretty difficult was it not for meal prep and the Type A personality in me thrived in thinking a lot more about what I was doing with my days and making meal plans to make sure I didn’t turn to safe beige food every evening.

Would I Do It Again?

As much as I’ve enjoyed thinking more about what is actually in the food I’m eating and planning my meals more, I don’t think the Vegan lifestyle is for me. I will definitely be taking up more of a plant based diet now but I’ve missed eggs and honey way more that I thought I would have, and I’m not convinced a vegan diet 100% of the time is all that healthy. Saying that, I would absolutely recommend trying it out next year to anyone who’s thinking of it – there’s nothing – except a few pounds – to lose!

Helena xx

 

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